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Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Hands Off Preview – I Ain’t Afraid

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Hands Off PreviewLet me tell you something. I’ve thought about it for a long time, and I’m pretty sure ghosts are real.

So if ever I need some ghosts busted, I know who to call – game developer IllFonic.

Because while it would take me some time to figure out how to put a ghost trap together, let alone afford the materials, the Predator: Hunting Grounds developer has shown me that their latest game, Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed, is the best training around.

Your viewpoint in a game can make all the difference, and nowhere is that more clear with Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleased.

As the very first Ghostbusters first-person game, even without a controller in my hands, it’s clear as ectoplasm that there is a very fun game here.

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed Hands Off Preview – I Ain’t Afraid

Who You Gonna Call?

There are few franchises that have reached the level of popularity and global adoration akin to what Ghostbusters has. The community behind the series is massive, and there aren’t many games that have been able to live up to the acclaim of the films.

Ghostbusters: The Video Game was a great first step, but Spirits Unleashed looks like the kind of game fans have been waiting for.

Firstly, there’s a clear emphasis on providing a detailed Ghostbusters experience in all aspects of gameplay. The Firehouse is particularly exciting, to have a version of it to explore within a first person view.

A difference of player perspective isn’t always the switch a game needs – Sony Santa Monica’s God Of War was almost a first person game, before the idea was scrapped – but in some cases, it can work wonders.

In order to bring the world of ghost busting to life like never before, IllFonic’s choice to stick with a first person perspective is what strikes me as one of the reasons I’m so excited for this game.

I just already know there will be a greater visual connection to what I see around me, because I can get a closer look.

Plus, it’ll feel all the more impressive to round up ghosts when I can aim and fire the proton pack from a first-person view.

It also helps that two of the original Ghostbusters will be lending their talents to the game. Dan Aykroyd’s Ray Stantz and Ernie Hudson’s Winston Zeddemore are starting a new generation of Ghostbusters, to help keep the spirit world at bay.

Having their voices and characters really helps to ground the game, which is key for a multiplayer game like this, that will likely turn out to be a live service title.

While IllFonic wasn’t able to discuss any particulars, they were able to confirm plans for future content down the line.

Time To Get Bustin’

If you’re familiar with IllFonic’s previous games, then you can start to understand why Ghostbusters is actually the perfect IP for them to work with. It’s their classic 4v1 gameplay, with one player as the ghost, the rest are the busters.

You’ll arm yourself with a proton pack, PKE meter and ghost trap as you work together with your fellow busters to catch the ghost, and put an end to their haunting.

Ghosts of course, have the objective to not be caught, but that’s not all. In the process of not being caught, ghost players must also scare those civilians that have foolishly decided to stick around, despite the four people running around with mini nuke’s on their back, trying to catch a ghost.

Although the ghost may be doing the civilians a bit of a public service by getting them away from the people with nuclear backpacks, they are at the same time trying to traumatize them. Which is where you’ll come in, to try and keep people calm, and catch the ghost efficiently – so everyone can enjoy their time at the museum.

If the ghost is able to make the whole area officially haunted, and terrify civilians to the point they run away screaming, then the busters lose. If the busters are able to catch the ghost, then it’s a win for the busters.

That’s the basic idea, but getting rid of a ghost isn’t as easy as just trapping it the one time. Ghost players will be able to revive three times using Rifts, which act as respawn points for them.

You can, as a buster, get rid of the rifts within each map in order to truly close in on the ghost you’re hunting, though it’s also up to the ghost to protect its assets at all costs.

Ghosts are varied and have different ectoplasm based attacks, all of which are unique to the kind of ghost classes there are.

Busters have their aforementioned proton pack, PKE meter and ghost trap. Using the PKE meter to find and then stun ghosts looks to be very fun, particularly due to the well-detailed design of the PKE meter.

It’s a feeling similar to using the tools in Alien Isolation, where they are all at the same time useful while further grounding the gameplay in the world of the game.

That basic gameplay though, of running around, finding each rift, and eventually the ghost to try and catch it could have been enough – but there’s another, more comedic layer to it all.

Prop Hunt

It’s not really a secret that any multiplayer game that is able to incorporate some kind of prop hunt in some way will likely be a lot of fun.

For Spirits Unleashed, this addition of prop hunt gameplay where a ghost will appear as an object isn’t just a game mode – I’d argue it is part of the core experience.

There’s a huge stealth element added to being a ghost, along with a great increase in opportunities for silliness. I’ve never played a prop hunt mode I didn’t like, and I’m excited at the prospect of it being so fundamental to the experience.

Scaring civilians becomes especially more fun when you consider how many creative avenues for haunting this opens up. It makes it feel like a commonplace item scaring NPC’s out the door won’t get stale, actually – because you could potentially be finding new ways to scare people all the time.

The prop hunt element is great for scaring people, but it also furthers the cat and mouse aspect of the gameplay, switch the power dynamic from one side to the other.

Having that shifting power dynamic is what makes the game fun to play from either side, and it looks like Spirits Unleashed could be IllFonic’s most balanced 4v1 game yet.

I already know it’ll be hilarious watching busters run around and try to find me, while I watch them all miss out on catching the moving lamp.

Are You Afraid Of Ghosts?

Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed really looks like the kind of Ghostbusters game that players have been waiting for.

It has a strong multiplayer standing, and it even has a narrative for players to experience, though there was little detail given about the story itself. What does seem clear at this point, is that it’ll have something to do with the knowledge available in Ray’s books.

This game also exists in a post-Ghostbusters: Afterlife world, so there’s also a chance elements from the most recent film could be worked in.

Altogether, there wasn’t anything I saw about Ghostbusters: Unleashed that made me feel uneasy or concerned.

Even though there’s still a lot of time between now and the official release, it’s clear that Ghostbusters: Spirits Unleashed has at its foundation a development team who is passionate about their game and the IP they get to use in making it.

So long as that feeling is there in the gameplay, this could likely be IllFonic’s best game yet.